We've gone back into a school routine, now, but a few weeks ago we were looking for something to break up the big expanses of the summer days. Crazy, I know.
We had done (more than) our share of soccer camps, short half-day camps held at our familiar soccer fields and filled with lots and lots of running, kicking, physical activity.
Then I discovered this great summer camp opportunity. It was a full day based out at a Girl Scout campground. It offered lots of swimming, hiking, canoeing, arts and crafts, archery, etc. All the different "real camp" things that I remembered doing when I was a kid.
Wow! What better way than that for Firefly to spend her day? She would get to be outside, get to be running, physical, climbing, discovering! Sounded just right up her alley, right? A perfect fit and a magical way to spend eight hours.
So I signed both girls up. And I even looked for some fun things for Bug and I to do together in our "found" time. We talked up camp. The girls looked it up online and were super-excited. I packed lunches, bathing suits, goggles, bug spray, and lots and lots of sunscreen.
And off they went on Day One.
And Firefly hated it.
The kids were mean.
It was too long.
She was really hungry.
She had to wear socks and sneakers.
They didn't get to __________ (each day a new complaint here).
And worst of all, there was thunder.
Look. I know that I am a control freak. (And, yes, I know my friends are rolling on the floor laughing here at the understatement that I just made). That is probably the biggest reason that I struggle so hard with Firefly, truthfully. But I am at a loss here. I can control how much and what kinds of food I pack her. I can control which clothes she has to wear. I can control earplugs when sounds are too loud, sunglasses when the sun is too bright, a relaxing bath when the world is just too tough.
But I can't control thunder.
And just so you know, we live in Florida. Thunderstorms are an everyday occurence during the summer months. Everyday. Firefly has had plenty of experience with thunder. But when she heard it at camp, she lost it. Truly lost it. Sobbing, out-of-control, lost it. Refused to budge, do anything at all, lost it.
Alienated herself from possible friends, embarrassed her older sister, annoyed counselors kind of lost it.
Some days, I'm at a loss myself, ladies and gentlemen.
And it strikes me yet again that I have a special needs kiddo.
And one that I truly do not understand.
This wonderful, magical, nature-y (yes, I know that's not a word), picture-perfect childhood memory camp experience that I thought I had organized for my girls turned into a torture session.
And guess what?
Mom of the year that I am, I made her go three more times!
Denial is a wonderful thing, sometimes.
We role-played the thunder thing.
We practiced deep breathing.
We gave suggestions for things to tell herself when she *thought there might be thunder coming in the next two hours*.
I equipped Turtle with some "in the moment" suggestions.
I talked to the camp director.
I offered my phone number over and over again.
Every day, guess what?
She flipped out.
I guess I have learned my lesson about summer camp for next year.
I'm still struggling with why, though. Which part of this was so wrong when it seemed like it would be so right?
Will I one day understand?
Why am I trying so hard to understand when what I need to do is parent?
Is there a difference?
Arrgh. Here we go with all of the questioning again. And, I guess, back to the answer. We are all wonderfully made. God knows what He is doing. I can do all things through He who gives me strength. God knows what He is doing.
If only I did!
But I do know one thing. I'm thankful that during the school year there are no summer camps.